I think I might prefer wine and pasta to chocolate. There, I said it. I love wine and pasta! I really love wine and pasta! (Where is Oprah’s couch when you need it?) And much like love, simple is so often better. Dan was in Baltimore last weekend, so I decided to treat myself to a huge bowl of pasta and a movie marathon. And though I often love long-simmering dishes, there’s also something so satisfying about being able to put together a glorious meal in no time at all. And to treat yourself to something you love, to revel in those few moments when you have nothing but possibility in front of you–that is my definition of a true feast. After all, why not celebrate yourself now and again? Pour some wine, never mind if the glass is a little too full to be considered “proper.” Slurp that pasta with devil-may-care abandon. Enjoy every bite, and go back for seconds. It’s your feast after all.

Quick Tapenade: (2-3 servings for main course pasta, 4-6 for pasta as a side)

In the bowl of a food processor, place an assortment of olives–I like to mix several types from the olive bar, probably a cup total. I prefer spicy green olives (sometimes called green olives with chilis) and kalamatas. Pit olives if necessary, and chop large olives in half. Add 1-2 tablespoons of capers, 1/2 lemon (zest and juice), 1-2 garlic cloves (smashed), and a handful of parsley–no need to chop. Add 1-2 T extra virgin olive oil, and pulse until chopped. Optional: Add several anchovies to the food processor. I love this taste, but it’s excellent without them.

Cook 8-12 oz. linguine according to package directions. Transfer the tapenade to a large bowl, and add cooked pasta to the tapenade. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta cooking water to loosen the tapenade into a sauce if necessary. Sprinkle with chopped parsley to serve.

This is also great as a spread on a ¬†warm baguette as an appetizer–it will serve about 6 people. Or keep the whole bowl for yourself, add a glass of wine and a great movie, and call it dinner. I would make it a Sandra Bullock night–The Proposal, Two Weeks Notice, While You Were Sleeping, and Miss Congeniality. No matter your feelings about her (I happen to think she’s fabulous), you have to admit her supporting casts are stellar. I know it’s trendy to say so, but Betty White makes The Proposal.